11/03/08

Zambia sets an example in malaria control

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Zambia is improving its measures to combat malaria and seeks to set an example for tackling the disease in remote rural areas.

The country had initially hoped to reduce the disease by 75 per cent by 2008, but this deadline has now been pushed back to 2011.

One of the primary difficulties lies in monitoring, as malaria shares symptoms with many other diseases. Detailed monitoring is essential for evaluating the effectiveness of new drugs.

Scientists at the Malaria Institute at Macha, Zambia, are hoping to eradicate the disease from 1,000 square kilometres of countryside around the Macha area. If it works, they hope to expand their methods nationally.

Last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation called for the disease to be wiped out completely. While this goal is many years away globally, there is some hope for Zambia — clinical data gathered by the WHO shows that malaria mortality in the country has declined by 33 per cent since 2000.

A separate article in Nature reports on RTS,S — dubbed "the world’s most advanced malaria vaccine" — which may shortly reach the final phase of clinical trials.

Link to full article on Zambia in Nature

Link to full article on RTS,S in Nature